Have you ever seen cats wiggle their butts right before a pounce? It’s so darn cute, but we were wondering why this seems to be a common feline instinct. Well, it turns out that they aren’t just being cute.
When your cat finds something to hunt, it will go through what they call the prey sequence. This starts with staring down the object of her hunt. I’m not sure what this does except bring the object into focus for the feline.
The next step is stalking the prey. I think this is the time that cats calculate in their brains how they are going to best catch the subject. Depending on how fast the subject is moving, this could be quick or it could take your kitty some time.
The chase: And here comes the butt wiggles. When preparing for the pounce, they hunker down, dig their back feet into the ground and then cats wiggle their butts as they build friction for a successful launch. If you’ve ever played baseball or softball, this is like when you’re up to bat. I used to dig my cleat into the dirt so that I’d have a firm stance for a more powerful swing. It also helped for the take-off to first base. Cats want the chase to be very short… basically just a launch to the pounce. By getting that extra friction they’re better able to go straight to the pounce.
Because of the wiggle-butt, kitties make a successful pounce of their subject and this is where they take control.
After gaining control of the object, they can now kill it. If this is a toy it will obviously not need killing, but you’re cat still enjoys the process. When our cats catch the bird on the end of the wand they growl. This tells us that the object is their kill – not ours.
If the prey is in fact edible, this is the purrfect time for a feline to enjoy eating the fruits of their labor. If the kill is a toy or something inedible, we recommend feeding your cat at this time to complete the sequence. 🙂
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